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  • Cuban President Raul Castro (left) and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (right)

    Cuban President Raul Castro (left) and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (right) | Photo: Reuters

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New York’s governor will be the first high-profile politician to visit the island for trade talks.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is slated to visit Cuba for trade talks in what will be the first official visit to the island since the shift in U.S. policy toward the island, Reuters reported Saturday.

This news comes as Vermont Senator Patrick J. Leahy heads up a delegation leaving for the island Saturday for a three-day trip. He is flanked by fellow Democrat Senators Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and Representatives Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Peter Welch of Vermont, according to the New York Times.

Cuomo will release the plans for his trip trade trip Wednesday, the same day that delegates from the U.S. and Cuba will begin high-level talks in Havana to will discuss the resumption of diplomatic missions in both countries, as well as immigration.

Cuban state news agency ACN reported Saturday that the Cuban delegation will be headed up by Josefina Vidal Ferreira, the director general for United States at Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Edward Alex Lee will travel to the island on behalf of the superpower.

READ MORE: teleSUR timeline of U.S.-Cuba relations

The two side will discuss current immigration accords and potential actions to fight illegal immigration and immigrant trafficking Wednesday. Thursday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson will lead a discussion with the delegates to address the re-establishment of diplomatic relations. During this meeting, the two sides will discuss the principles and steps for the renewal of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies in their respective countries.

Cuban President Raul Castro made a simultaneous announcement to the one U.S. President Barack Obama made Dec. 17, saying that an agreement had been reached to begin normalizing diplomatic relations between the countries after 50-years of hostile U.S. policy toward the Caribbean nation.  

READ MORE: A New Era of U.S.-Cuba Relations Begins



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